‘A hasp and a hinge or two shy of a gate’

The Alaska ‘Troopergate’ is a non-scandal induced by a bunch of hacks desperately trying to dig up dirt in Palin’s past. 

A hasp and a hinge or two shy of a gate, as the Alaska Legislature’s bid to shaft McCain-Palin comes up a little short. Ethics violation alleged by partisan hacks in efforts to fire the trooper. No law broken in commissioner’s firing.

Link: http://www.julescrittenden.com/2008/10/10/troopergate/

From the Wall Street Journal:

A long-awaited Alaska legislative report concluded that Republican Sen. John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, abused her authority and broke state ethics law by trying to remove her former brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.

But the report also concluded that the Republican governor did not unlawfully fire her public-safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who said he had been pressured to oust the trooper, Mike Wooten.
The report said other factors were involved in Mr. Monegan’s controversial dismissal.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122364495587222887.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

From the Branchflower Report:

……although Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin’s firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.

http://community.adn.com/adn/node/132565

Aside from the usual in-the-tank-for Obama media reporting, it should be noted that although Wooten was involved in a nasty divorce from Palin’s sister, that’s not why he should be fired.

There were factors like tasering his 10 year old stepson and drinking in his cruiser.

Wooten has quite a record for a State trooper:

Let’s be clear: Mike Wooten is no angel. The fact that he is still a trooper suggests that the Legislature should review the troopers’ disciplinary standards.

Trooper Wooten gave his 10-year-old stepson a “test” firing from his state-issued Taser because the boy wanted to know what it was like. That was astoundingly bad judgment. Because the child “consented,” and the test apparently produced no lasting harm, Wooten would have a good defense against any criminal charges. But it was a hopelessly inappropriate thing for a state trooper to do with state-issued equipment.

Trooper Wooten also shot a moose illegally, using his wife’s permit. At the time the incident was investigated, he was a wildlife enforcement officer responsible for enforcing the very same hunting laws he broke. Questioned by troopers about the incident, he said he felt it was not inappropriate, according to the troopers’ disciplinary report.

Trooper Wooten also said he would make his father-in-law “eat a f***-ing? lead bullet” if he helped get a lawyer for his daughter. Apparently that didn’t qualify as “assault” under the law because Wooten did not say it directly to his father-in-law. No crime, but another example that trooper Wooten lacked the judgment and temperament to remain a trooper.

Another disturbing incident from Wooten’s record was the courtesy treatment he got from a fellow trooper during a DUI stop. A bartender had reported Wooten as a suspected drunken driver after Wooten caused a commotion in the bar and drove away. Wooten’s fellow officer stopped him, let him leave his car behind and gave him a ride to his destination. An arrest and conviction for DUI would have ended Wooten’s career as a trooper.

In another incident, Wooten was off duty and drove his patrol car with an open container of alcohol. Witnesses indicate he had been drinking before he got in the patrol car — a finding that trooper Col. Julia Grimes upheld in her review of Wooten’s case.

http://www.adn.com/opinion/view/story/535112.html

The stacked ‘panel’ kinda missed those items.

Take a look at who’s behind it and why:

Walt Monegan lost his job as public safety director because he resisted Gov. Sarah Palin’s budget policies and showed “outright insubordination,” say papers the governor’s lawyer filed Monday with the state Personnel Board.

http://www.adn.com/troopergate/story/527346.html

Which is her perogative as Governor.

Democratic States Senate Judiciary Chair Hollis French tried to taint the investigation from the start.

In late July, the Alaska State Legislature’s Legislative Council, a group of lawmakers that handles the legislature’s business when it is out of session, approved a $100,000 contract to hire an investigator. The Council, chaired by Sen. Kim Elton of Juneau (D), appointed Sen. Hollis French of Anchorage (D), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to oversee the investigation. SIDENOTE: If you’re asking how two Democrats got high-level chairmanships in a Republican controlled State Senate, here’s the answer. 6 of the 11 Republicans decided to join with the 9 Democrats to form a bipartisan coalition. There’s a GOP President of the Senate, but the majority leader and the chairmen of many committees are Democrats.

French, long-known to have ambitions for statewide office, has made several statements that have pre-judged the outcome of this investigation. In an ABC news story a couple weeks ago, French said this as-yet-unwritten and uninvestigated report is “likely to be damaging to the Governor’s administration” and that Gov. Palin “has a credibility problem.” French even had this to say about the investigation’s impact on the election:

“French says the McCain campaign failed to contact any of the Senators involved in the investigation during the vetting process of Gov. Palin. ‘If they had done their job, they never would have picked her,’ said French. ‘Now they may have to deal with an October surprise,’ he said, referring to the scheduled release Oct. 31 of the committee’s final report.”

The report is a preliminary step prior to any effort to impeach the Governor, said French.”

October surprise? Impeachment? Really? Now we know that this investigation has turned into a partisan effort to smear Gov. Palin. It’s not surprising because Hollis French has publicly supported and endorsed Barack Obama, as has Kim Elton.

Steve Branchflower was hired as the special council to investigate Sarah Palin on August 1. In an August 2, 2008 Anchorage Daily News article, Legislative Council chairman, Kim Elton, said that Branchflower asked for the job, along with several others, which makes this hiring a little fishy. Branchflower’s wife, Linda, worked for Monegan as a detective and publicly praised him as a “respected supervisor because he listens to his employees and isn’t afraid to change course if something isn’t working out” in a 2001 Anchorage Daily News article. Monegan is an honorable cop, but this relationship makes the Branchflower hiring even fishier.

Furthermore, Branchflower and Hollis French are former colleagues. According to the same August 2, 2008 story:

“French will supervise Branchflower. French, also a former prosecutor and colleague of Branchflower, has told the council that the investigator will go to work gathering evidence and could come back to lawmakers if ‘some people just won’t talk.’ The House and Senate Judiciary Committees could then issues subpoenas to compel testimony.”

http://www.adn.com/monegan/story/482003.html

So, a group of Obama’s hacks trump up ‘ethics’ charges against Sarah Palin for firing a public safety commissioner for insubordination, who in turn, used his clout to investigate her for daring to suggest that a corrupt asshole posing as a State trooper be fired for his repeated outrageous behavior.

By comparison, there’s a mountain of sludge in Obama’s history.

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